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5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

5 Best Reasons to Leave Your Phone At Home

Like the majority of the world, I have a smartphone. It keeps me updated on the weather, notifies me of important emails, and even allows me to keep track of important meetings on the go. I use it as my alarm clock every morning, and it has become an extra accessory I could never leave home without.

For some people, the smartphone (and other small devices) is how news is relayed between regions. Even farmers check the price of a bushel of hay through smart devices. It is not only used for personal reasons, like tracking our kids’ whereabouts, but also for never missing an important phone call about a big work project.

Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, having this kind of technology at our fingertips has enabled us to be everywhere, practically do anything with the swipe of a screen, and learn anything by asking a mysterious woman called Siri. The satellite function of Google Maps both astounds and creeps me out with its accuracy. There is no such thing as “I couldn’t find you” anymore. No one would believe you.

Everything is tracked, and if it isn’t monitored in some way already with an app of some kind, chances are, one is in the works.

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As much as the phone has enhanced our lives, it has also become a deterrent for living the way we once did. It has allowed the impersonal world of the web cater to our laziness and our love of convenience. As we rush out the door every morning, our first thought is never, “Did I feed the dog?” It’s, “Where’s my phone?”

Even the younger generations are becoming “vidiots” as we constantly push something electronic their way in the hopes of pacifying them while we wait at a restaurant or sit through church.

I am no different from the rest of you, but I have found great freedom in leaving my phone at home recently.

Going against convention and turning off my phone is also something I almost crave and am searching for a valid reason to do so.

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Don’t get me wrong…I understand the need for a smart phone. The benefits of having one clearly outweigh the reasons for why we shouldn’t have one.

Nevertheless, here are 5 simple reasons for why leaving your smart phone at home is the smarter idea:

1. Less distractions.

Let’s face it, if your phone isn’t vibrating or ringing from constant notifications, you’ll be able to focus better on the task at hand. No matter how many friends you have on Facebook, you are bound to miss something in someone’s life no matter how up-to-date you try to be. If you have thousands of Twitter and Instagram Followers, catching up on what’s going on in their lives will keep you from being engaged in your own life. With work-life balance being a rarity these days, we may actually be able to leave a little bit of work at the office for even just a short while by staying away from our phones.

2. Peace and quiet.

It may sound silly, but not having to listen to someone talk into their Bluetooth headset or headphones can be refreshing. The quietness we encounter will allow us to hear the birds sing and to hear the wind whip lightly through the trees as the seasons begin to change. As we take time to return to the good old ways of reading (with a book instead of a Kindle), we can feel the pages slip through our fingers, and hear the lapping of the waves as they crash onto the shore. We can recharge without feeling like we’re being pulled in so many directions.

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3. Connect with people.

It sounds far-fetched, but since the birth of texting and SnapChatting, our lack of in-person interaction has caused human conversation and interaction to become very impersonal. Before smartphones, it was important to know and remember the phone numbers of the people we needed to call most. My guess is that most of us can’t remember the phone numbers of the top 3 people in our contacts. Even sporting events, children’s concerts, and a night out with a loved one has turned into events that are experienced in silence as each person stays glued to their work email and/or texts. Remember, the memories you create with people will always beat any Vine video.

4. Heightened senses.

People take some remarkable pictures of the incredible food they encounter when eating out for others to see, but will accumulating a large online following help you in savoring the crispness of the garden salad, the texture of the spinach and hard boiled egg rolling around in your mouth, swirling with the dressing that has just the right amount of spice and tanginess? Will your followers help you take in the colorful layers of greens and reds of the Grand Canyon and its walls that are now visible because of the Colorado River flowing below? Hearing the laughter of babies, watching a vow of love, or even feeling the comfort shared through the touching of hands cannot be described or experienced the same way if you are not present in the moment.

5. Remain a mystery.

Here’s the thing…no one really wants to know why you needed to take your dog to the vet, and you don’t need to “check in” every time you go out to buy a bag of Cheetos or a liter of soda. Sometimes, it is fun to show others that you’ve been somewhere different and unexpected, but for the most part, we can’t know everything, about everyone, all the time. It’s okay to “tag” your family and friends every once in a while, but no one wants to see or hear about you every second of the day. We all have lives too, you know. Keep a few secrets hidden from the rest of the world. You may meet your best friend for coffee every week at the same time, at the same place, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know that… This way, it’s more special. And it will stay special – even if it is just coffee.

In conclusion…

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Technology will only continue to improve, and our senses will continue to be overloaded with the never-ending stimulation found in our pocket and purse, or sitting on our desk. Because we never want to fall too far behind, this constant need to be “in the know” has created more stress in an already busy life. Our lack of sleep has turned a good night’s rest into a low-quality nap, as the ever-present abyss of Pinterest becomes an unwitting time-suck. Suddenly, it’s 3:33 am, and we’ve created 2 new boards and pinned 17 more recipes that we will never try before we finally black-out from exhaustion.

Next time when you’re outside enjoying the brisk coolness found in the soon-to-be-autumn air, cuddling with your loved one near the fire pit, listening to the crackle of the wood, feeling the warmth in each flicker of flame, and watching the orange glow slowly burn its way through the path of the least resistance, realize that you are hearing a long-forgotten, but familiar sound… It is life.

Featured photo credit: Bino Storyteller via hd.unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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